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Gigantic 1976 Centennial Bat Signed By The Entire National League
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $4,640.00
Presented is a most extraordinary tribute created in 1976 in honor of the National League's 100th anniversary, conceived and executed as a special project by photographer Bob Bartosz. This unique, custom-made giant bat is signed by virtually every National League player during the 1976 season. It is accompanied by a 1975 Mike Marshall All-Star Game bat. Bob Bartosz is one of the sporting world's most legendary photographers. Anyone who over the past thirty years has picked up a baseball book, a baseball magazine, or even bought a pack of baseball cards, has seen Bob's work. He is one of the most respected, accomplished, and published professional sports photographers in the history of the game. The story of this unique signed bat is best told by Bob Bartosz himself, in the letter which accompanies:
Story about the Big Bat by Bob Bartosz: As the 1975 Baseball Season was coming to an end, there was a lot of talk about the 100th Anniversary of the National League (1876-1976). All the teams in the National League were preparing to honor this big event. New Uniforms, hats, logos etc. Being a photographer and covering the National League games for a local South Jersey newspaper I came upon the idea to celebrate this event also. During the winter months I acquired a huge piece of turn of the century Teak wood and using a pattern off of a Greg Luzinski Model bat, I had a local machine shop cut a model of it on their lathe. The bat was about five foot tall in size. The bat was taken to a county vocational school to their wood shop. There it was sanded down with a very fine sand paper to give it a proper smooth finish. I had two large decals custom made at a local printing shop bearing the Logo of the 100th Anniversary for the National League. At the start of the 1976 season in April I took the bat with me to the Phillies Clubhouse at Veterans Stadium where it got a lot of attention from the Phillies players and I had all of them autograph the bat with a Sharpie Pen. I than took the bat over to the Visitors Clubhouse and had each player also sign the bat. I continued to do this as each team came in to Veterans Stadium during the 1976 Season. Everyone was very happy to sign the bat ( back in the early 1970's days there were no large groups of photographers and few autograph-seekers hounding the players like you see today). When the Dodgers came into town everyone graciously signed the bat with one exception. The Dodgers pitcher Mike Marshall refused to sign the bat. Mike was a very pleasant person and explained to me that he would not autograph any item. Many of his teammates urged him to sign the bat but he still refused. He explained that he felt terrible about this but that was his policy. As a good will gesture, he gave me his personal 1975 All-Star Game bat. As the year went on I was able to get everyone in the Clubhouse to sign the bat. I was hoping to give the bat to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY, as my wife and I were frequently going there during the Induction Ceremonies and covering the Hall of Fame games. Throughout the years we have donated many items from the old Connie Mack Stadium and photos to the Hall of Fame and we were hoping that they would exhibit the bat but I was told by them that they just did not have any room for new displays. This was back in the mid 1970's before all the new construction and the new changes that you see at the Hall of Fame today. After the 1976 season, the bat was put on display in various malls here in South Jersey. I was able to take photographs of many of the players that signed the bat, and both the photos and the bat attracted many thousands of baseball fans who came to see it. As the years went by I had stored the bat away in a closet. I had a lot of fun creating this unique tribute to the National League's Centennial, and sharing it with others over the years. I am now retired and have disposed of much of my baseball collection and have decided that the bat should go to a new owner. I am sure it will find a deserving home. Sincerely, Bob Bartosz. Now retired Sports Photographer
The bat weighs 14 pounds and measures 54 inches in length. It is signed by hundreds of players. This is a simply amazing display piece. Everyone who sees it wants to hold it. It is also a display piece with a great story. The fact that Mike Marshall is so legendary for his refusal to sign, and the autographed bat is accompanied by the All-Star Game bat presented to Bob Bartosz as a token of Marshall's remorse, adds a fascinating additional dimension of interest. The bat is also accompanied by a selection of twenty-two original photographs taken by Bob Bartosz of players from various teams signing and posing with the bat in the clubhouse. The only National League player aside from Mike Marshall that Bob Bartosz knows that he happened to miss getting to sign the bat is Willie Montanez. LOAs from Mike Gutierrez/GAI and James Spence & Steve Grad/PSA DNA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000/$8,000. SOLD FOR $4,640.00
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